Anonymous: The Castle of Perseverance

(1644 words)
  • Andrea Young (University of Liverpool)

The Castle of Perseverance is the earliest surviving complete morality play in English, and one of the most significant plays in medieval theatre history thanks largely to its accompanying stage diagram. The play and diagram provide the most comprehensive English example of place and scaffold staging (also known as platea and locus). Action occurs at ground level – the “place” – and on scaffolds and a central castle (“loca”) in a fixed location (as opposed to the moveable pageant wagons of the mystery plays). The banns, which would be read out in local villages the week before to advertise the performance, refer to this play as taking place on a “grene”.

The scaffolds belong to the Devil (North), …

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Young, Andrea. "The Castle of Perseverance". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 June 2013
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]